Can we shrug our shoulders and move on? Happy?
Over the many years, we have given our testimony about Jesus and the real, eternal life found only in Him. We have passionately spoken of His love and care, His complete forgiveness, because of His relentless love for us. We have spoken of religion versus relationship and tried to persuade people in dark places to experience the Light of God’s grace. Many have accepted and love the Lord and have a growing relationship with Him. That did not happen because of us, for we only obeyed what God said to say and do at the time. The Holy Spirit led the conversation, fueled a spark of need in the other person. The person had a chance to reject God’s Word and message…and many did say no to Life.
How do we handle rejection of what is so precious to us? How can others reject Jesus, our Savior and Lord, we pray, asking God? We even beat ourselves up, thinking we didn’t say it right. Guess what? A person’s acceptance is not up to us. Our work is to obey, make the most of every opportunity, to stand and speak when directed by the Holy Spirit. That is all. The rest is the work of God, our Father, reaching out to them!
Paul and Barnabas are great examples. Paul was a passionate man. He stood his ground. He spoke well and convinced many. He did exactly what God told Him to do. He was so convinced and full of the Holy Spirit, rejection did not get him down. He was happy because he did what the Spirit told him to do. Then he moved on. There were more people to tell of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He did not dwell on the rejection by his own people and anyone else.
This next passage proves it with these final words, “Paul and Barnabas shrugged their shoulders and went on to the next town, Iconium, brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples.”
Are we brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, happy disciples, knowing we did all we were asked to say and do? Then move on…
Acts 13, The Message
44-45 When the next Sabbath came around, practically the whole city showed up to hear the Word of God. Some of the Jews, seeing the crowds, went wild with jealousy and tore into Paul, contradicting everything he was saying, making an ugly scene.
46-47 But Paul and Barnabas didn’t back down. Standing their ground they said, “It was required that God’s Word be spoken first of all to you, the Jews. But seeing that you want no part of it—you’ve made it quite clear that you have no taste or inclination for eternal life—the door is open to all the outsiders. And we’re on our way through it, following orders, doing what God commanded when he said,
I’ve set you up
as light to all nations.
You’ll proclaim salvation
to the four winds and seven seas!”
48-49 When the non-Jewish outsiders heard this, they could hardly believe their good fortune. All who were marked out for real life put their trust in God—they honored God’s Word by receiving that life. And this Message of salvation spread like wildfire all through the region.
50-52 Some of the Jews convinced the most respected women and leading men of the town that their precious way of life was about to be destroyed. Alarmed, they turned on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave. Paul and Barnabas shrugged their shoulders and went on to the next town, Iconium, brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples.
What do we learn?
–We are not responsible for the reaction and acceptance of God’s message of saving grace and life eternal through believing in Jesus Christ, His Son.
–We can remain happy and full of joy, moving on with expectation that God’s Holy Spirit will lead us on to another that needs a Savior.
–Jesus saves. We are only the messengers.
–Continue to be a messenger! Take joy in obedience, not in the response.
–Even Jesus was rejected…remember?
Do we take too long in moving on? Do we focus and dwell more on results rather than obedience, leaving the rest to God? Mm.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for reminding us that YOU save us and lead us. We accept, believe and obey and take joy in exactly that! Restore unto me the joy of my salvation! Help me not to dwell on the rejection of others to Your saving grace but to take joy in obedience of declaring it from the mountaintops! I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. Continue to lead us. Continue to fill us with Your Holy Spirit, brimming with joy and happiness. In Jesus Name, Amen